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How might 2024 affect DeSantis' second term?

APTOPIX Election 2022 Florida Governor
Rebecca Blackwell
/
AP
Incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis holds his son Mason as he celebrates winning reelection, at an election night party in Tampa, Fla, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Speculation about Gov. Ron DeSantis running for president in 2024 has only grown since his reelection victory.

At DeSantis' election night watch party, his supporters cheered on the idea of the governor running for president. "Two more years. Two more years," they cried before the crowd erupted into chants of "USA. USA."

"Now with the support of the people, we have not only won an election, we have rewritten the political map.”

DeSantis hasn’t announced plans for a presidential run, but several signs point in that direction. And if a 2024 White House bid is in his future, that could mean he serves two years, instead of four.

“I prefer he stayed in Florida," said Tallahassee voter Jill Thorne, 68, who cast her ballot for DeSantis. "But yeah, I’d probably support him if he runs for president.”

DeSantis has campaigned for Republicans in key battleground states, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. His reelection campaign for governor raised some $200 million, with $90 million dollars left in the bank. DeSantis mailers have even been sent to addresses outside Florida.

“All of that has raised his national profile," said long-time Florida political analyst Susan McManus. "You can’t start a campaign really, really late and be competitive unless you have mega, mega bucks.”

APTOPIX Election 2022 Florida Governor
Rebecca Blackwell
/
AP
A woman arrives before Incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters during an election night party in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

McManus says DeSantis is likely to govern in a way that continues to elevate his national profile, and that means he’ll likely take a "measured" approach.

“If you’re thinking of running for president, you’ve got to see how controversial issues played out in the elections of the other forty-nine states.”

One example is the issue of abortion, McManus said. “The governor has not jumped right in and immediately called for some of the levels of restrictions on reproductive rights as some of the other states have," she said. "And he could’ve made a big point of that in his platform right now, but he has not.”

DeSantis is likely to focus most on the economy, the environment and education, McManus said. "He certainly does not want to see any kind of reversal of Florida’s population growth."

Republicans won a supermajority in the state legislature, giving the party full control over policymaking for at least the next two years.

A presidential run wouldn’t necessarily force DeSantis to resign, said Mark Herron, an elections attorney based in Tallahassee. State law requires public officials who qualify to run for another political office to resign within 10 days of qualifying. "A governor who runs for president does not qualify to be a candidate under the laws of Florida."

State law only requires elected officials who qualify to run for another office to step down early, but that’s not how presidential contests work.

“If you're running for Senate, you qualify under Florida law," Herron said. "If you are running for the United States representative, you qualify. But a person who's running for president does not qualify for federal public office, they are nominated by the political party, and their names go on the ballot automatically.”

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.